Tomas Satoransky has quietly been one of the best, if not THE BEST backup point guard in the NBA this year. Stellar on both ends of the ball, “Sato” has been a joy for Washington Wizards’ fans to watch and cheer for as he’s brought a dynamic to the Washington bench that has been sorely lacking in the past few years – stability. Since John Wall decided to get surgery on his knee and sit for a month, the Wizards are 8-2, beating the new look Cleveland Cavaliers most recently in Cleveland in their first game after the All-Star break.
In that 10 game span, Tomas Satoransky is averaging 12 points, six assists, three rebounds, 1.5 steals and only 1.4 turnover while playing 28 minutes per game. His efficiency has been off of the charts, shooting 59% from the field, 63% from beyond the arc and 100% from the charity stripe. That’s good enough for a 73% true shooting percentage. Last night, he posted 17 points and eight assists with zero turnovers and only one missed shot. His near perfect play has been a great stabilizer for the Wizards during this period with their All-Star point guard on the sidelines.
Offensively, Sato is amongst the most efficient of players in many different areas, making him extremely malleable and valuable to the Wizards offense. Head coach Scott Brooks can place him anywhere on the floor and he has the awareness, IQ and skill to make a play. He rarely makes mistakes, but he doesn’t hesitate to take slight risks that he knows will pay off. He’s the ideal back up point guard in an egalitarian offense and his numbers will support this claim.
According to Synergy Sports Tech, Sato ranks in the 84th percentile or the top 16% in the NBA in overall offense based on points per possession. He generates 1.073 PPP and this is solely as a scorer. As a scorer and a passer he ranks in the 99th percentile…or the top 1% of the NBA. On points scored and assisted on, Sato is generating 1.549 PPP. Elite NBA playmakers fall short in comparison.
Russell Westbrook: 1.275 PPP
James Harden: 1.39 PPP
Lebron James: 1.415 PPP
Granted volume accounts for a lot when comparing players of their caliber to a backup point guard. However, Satoransky has played plenty and it is remarkable what he is doing.
He is also currently second in the NBA in AST/TO ratio at 4.18. He is fourth amongst qualified guards in true shooting percentage at 62.7%; behind sharpshooters Stephen Curry, Kyle Korver and Jose Calderon. When one combines this level of passing efficiency with this level shooting efficiency, it makes for a formidable offensive threat.
The catch is, he’s not only an offensive threat. His defense has proven to be more than great so far as well. Standing at 6’7, with a great sense of awareness, Sato covers ball handlers with length. He’s currently allowing 0.892 PPP, good enough for the 61st percentile in the NBA. He is tied for second on the Washington Wizards in defensive rating with Marcin Gortat.
In addition to great team defensive numbers, he is shutting down opposing guards in John Wall’s absence. In the nine games prior to last night’s Cleveland matchup, Satoransky recorded 326 defensive possessions against Dennis Schroder, Russell Westbrook, Kyle Lowry, Elfrid Payton, Cory Joseph, JJ Redick, Kyrie Irving, Jerami Grant and Jarrett Jack. In those possessions, a total of 68 points were scored on Sato or 0.209 PPP. He held these guards to a staggering 36% from the field and only allowed more than nine points twice.
Elite play on both ends from an ‘interim’ starting point guard is more than the Wizards asked for, but they definitely aren’t complaining. They look to expand on their three game winning streak tonight against Kemba Walker and the Charlotte Hornets.